Underclassmen will have a period of 10 days after the draft combine ends to remove their name from the pool of draft-eligible players. In addition, players will retain their college eligibility even if they declare themselves for the NBA draft in more than one year.
Student-athletes who enter the draft will be able to participate in the combine and work out with one NBA team before choosing whether they want to withdraw their name. Should they do so, they'll remain eligible to resume their college career.
Cody McDavis, who serves on the oversight committee for Division I men's basketball, explained the reasoning behind the NCAA's decision.
"(The rule allows) student-athletes to realize their dreams without punishing them for having such dreams," McDavis said, per NCAA.com. "Almost every men’s basketball student-athlete has dreamt of playing in the NBA. This proposal allows them to attempt to make those dreams a reality without taking away their ability to come back and play in amateur collegiate sport if they happen to be unsuccessful."
The oversight committee worked with the NCAA, NBA and National Association of Basketball Coaches before working out the finer details of the changes.
Yahoo Sports' Bobby Marks posited for whom the new rules will have the most impact:
Most projected 1st rd picks should have an agent in place by pre-draft. New rule effects borderline 1st rd. (Pick 20-35) prospects.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 13, 2016
Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler added the new rules will have a net-positive effect:
Won't change the delusional, but it does give guys a chance to get a firm commitment before deciding to stay in. https://t.co/gKSGsHbYUa— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 13, 2016
A segment of college basketball fans won't be satisfied with draft reform that doesn't include the NBA abolishing its age minimum. The chances of that happening anytime soon are slim, however. In a November 2014 interview with Chuck Klosterman for GQ, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated he'd like to see the minimum age increase from 19 years old to 20.
Since Silver is unlikely to budge on the age minimum, underclassmen with NBA aspirations will at least be able to make a more informed decision before ultimately deciding whether or not to forgo whatever college eligibility they have left.